Lauren Cross – Visionary for Women and the Arts

Lauren Cross, TWU Doctoral Candidate

Lauren Cross, TWU Doctoral Candidate

Lauren Cross is rapidly earning the reputation as a visionary for women of color in the arts. A current Ph.D. student, Lauren will soon join her mother Loretta (Lucas) Ausbie, a 1974 graduate, and her aunt, Shirley (Lucas) Dachaun, Class of 1970, as an alumna of Texas Woman’s University. Lauren’s background, her vision for WoCA Projects based in Fort Worth, is an inspiring story.

Lauren holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and a B. A. in Art, Design, and Media from Richmond, the American International University in London, England.  Her work has been exhibited and screened at various galleries, museums, and colleges/universities across the country.  Lauren’s documentary, The Skin Quilt Project, was an official selection for the 2010 International Black Women’s Film Festival.  You would be able to see her work from June 20th to August 15th, 2014, when it will be featured in a regional juried exhibition at Artspace111 in Fort Worth, an exhibit which was juried by Andrea Karnes, curator at the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum, an Ron Tyler, former director and curator at the Amon Carter Museum of Art in Fort Worth.

Lauren is a 4th year doctoral candidate in Women’s Studies at TWU concentrating in Multicultural Studies with a  projected graduation date in December 2014.  For the Women’s Studies department she teaches a course titled Gender and Social Change: An Introduction to Multicultural Women’s Studies and U. S. Women of Color.  Her dissertation research, exploring the implications of curating exhibitions that feature women artists of color, ties directly to her current passion, the WoCA Projects, an innovative artspace in Fort Worth.  According to the website ” WoCA Projects is an non-profit, artist-run artspace featuring contemporary artworks by local, national, and international women artists of color, and diversifying the contemporary landscape through exhibitions and community arts programming.  WoCA Projects defines ‘women of color’ as women of African, native American, indigenous, Latina/Chicana, Asian/Pacific islander, and Arab/Mediterranean descent, as well as women representing diverse ethnicities and nationalities with and outside the U. S.”

The WoCA artspace in Fort Worth

The WoCA artspace in Fort Worth, located in the Riverside Arts District, a local community of arts studio spaces.

In 2013, Lauren was one of three artists selected by the Fort Worth Weekly magazine to receive a Visionary Award.  Her vision for the WoCA projects is indeed unique.  A visit to the WoCA artspace  website  illustrates Lauren’s vision for such programming as Curating4Change, a “program that engages both youth and adults in a community based curatorial program that teaches the practice of curating with the hopes that communities can become more involved in exhibition making, and thus creating the exhibitions they would like to see.”   WoCA offers a Summer Youth Arts Curating Camp as well as a workshop for adults.  Another innovative offering is “Afternoon Teas@ WoCA.”  Afternoon teas are held on the 2nd Saturday of each month and feature a three course afternoon tea menu, a guest lecture from women leaders in the arts, a vendor and a raffle.   

Since its opening in 2013, WoCA has hosted several exhibitions including a recent one called “The Hoodie Project” featuring images from the work of TWU Alumna, Susan Sponsler, dealing with the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager shot to death in Sanford FLA in 2012.

Lauren is excited to join her mother and aunt as alumnae of Texas Woman’s University, an accomplishment that is made particularly meaningful by the fact that they have been her strongest supporters in her continued education and her work at WoCA.

TWU wishes Lauren all the best in her doctoral studies and her visionary work in Fort Worth!

Web link:   http://www.wocaprojects.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

TWU Student Leader Profile

Natashia

Natashia Williams, EMBA student from the Houston campus was the event chairperson for the recent TWU EMBA (Executive Masters in Business Administration) fundraising gala.  Each year as a part of the capstone project, one group is responsible for planning and presenting an event to raise funds for the EMBA scholarship fund.  This year, 2013, was special in that the event was to honor the retiring chair of the TWU School of Management, Dr. Paula Ann Hughes, who is herself a TWU alumna.

Natashia, who has her own wedding/event planning business, Treasured Events www.treasured-vents.net  outside of her full time professional position, wanted to chair the TWU gala because she knew that because of her experience, she could bring something new and exciting to TWU.  ” Having a group of people together to take on a daunting task exhilarated me and pushed me to my maximum and showed everyone that Team Work really does work.  Most importantly being able to honor such a great woman and superb role model such as Dr. Hughes, catapulted us to excel even more.  And of course, who would not want to be known as the trailblazing team that had an awesome Gala in Houston.”  The gala was themed around the Great Gatsby era and many dressed for the occasion.

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Natashia enrolled at TWU in the MBA program upon the recommendation of a friend and has been very happy with her decision.  She completed the program in May of 2013.  “The most valuable part of the program has to be the networking and the invaluable friendships that have been forged.  Having professors that truly care about their students’ success is something that will never be forgotten.”

An only child, Natashia is the single mother of two teenage girls, Emerald, 17, and Diamond, 15 and a “feisty” Chihuahua, Onyx.  She has about 16 years of experience in the Healthcare industry.  Recently, she has transitioned to the Dallas area to work and has enrolled at the TWU campus there to pursue a second Master’s degree in the Health System program.  TWUBA wishes her all the best as she goes for her second TWU degree!

 

TWUBA Mentoring Initiative

Mentoring current TWU students to encourage them on their way to graduation and successful careers is one of the original goals of  TWUBA.  Executive Committee member, Claudia Deshay, has made great strides in formulating the design of the TWU Black Alumni mentoring program. Here is some information about the program from Claudia.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

“TWUBA is developing a mentoring program to assist students in their adjustment to campus life, provide students with a network for healthy academic and social growth, and encourage students to contribute to the general TWU community.  The Mentoring Program will be a source for TWU alumni to share their educational and professional experience, knowledge and insights with students and with one another.

TWUBA will provide a number of mentoring options, including one-on-one mentoring and a new TWUBA Mentoring Portal. In addition to the opportunity to request mentoring, the portal will provide links to professional organizations, scholarships, blogs, conferences, and other professional activities and information.  Students and alumni will find information specific to their degree programs and professions.”

Here’s how you can participate:  E-mail Claudia at chdeshay@hotmail.com   Include in your e-mail what your degree and major were while at TWU, brief summary of your career responsibilities and attach your resume.  Claudia will be in touch with your regarding listing your name on the TWUBA website and to answer any questions you might have.

CDeShay

Claudia DeShay, TWUBA Mentoring Chair

ABOUT CLAUDIA:

Claudia DeShay earned two Library Science degrees from TWU, the master’s degree in 1993 and the doctorate in 2001.  During both courses of study, her focus was materials and services for children and young adults.  She taught courses for the School of Library and Information Studies as a graduate teaching assistant and as an adjunct faculty member.

A former Children’s Librarian for the Dallas Public Library, Claudia is currently the Education Librarian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, where she teaches Evidence-Based Medicine, Literature and Medicine, and other classes.  She also serves as liaison to several university departments, including the Department of Pediatrics and the Office of Medical Education.

TWUBA Awards Scholarships

Scholarship presentation

TWUBA members and 2013 scholarship recipients from left to right: Maj. Gen. Mary Saunders, Tyreshia Williams (student honoree), Dianne Randolph, Joleesia Berry (student honoree), Addie Davis and Debra Shepherd. (Photo: Alex Ancira, TWU Lasso)

April 25, 2013, marked an important milestone for TWU Black Alumni.  Two deserving student leaders received the inaugural TWUBA scholarships from monies contributed by TWUBA members.  And what better day to present them than after the annual TWU Founder’s Day luncheon?  “This is an historical moment for our organization and represents a collective effort to “give back” to our university while at the same time encouraging others to continue moving forward with purpose,” said Dianne Randolph, President of TWUBA.

Since its founding in December of 2009, TWUBA has been working toward its goal of presenting scholarship assistance to current TWU students of color as a means of encouraging them toward graduation.  Criteria for the TWU Alumni Black Heritage Scholarship includes being a full time student at TWU, a minimum 3.0 GPA at the time of the award, demonstrated financial need as established by the TWU Office of Financial Aid.  The recipients are selected by the General Scholarship Committee.

This year’s scholarship students are Joleesia Berry and Tyreshia Williams:

Joleesia Berry from Dallas is a junior business administration major on the TWU Denton campus.  She is the first African-American student to be appointed as Student Regent since the Student Regent program was started by Governor Perry in 2005.  Joleesia served in several positions within the  TWU Student Government Associations before being elected president for 2012-2013.  Joleesia graduated from the High School for Health Professions at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center in Dallas in 2010.

Tyreshia “Ty” Williams is a junior, commuting from Little Elm. TX who is majoring in Kinesiology with at focus in Physical Therapy.  She is the president of the Pre-Physical Therapy club and president of the Student Foundation, a group that engages the student body in philanthropic projects to support the University.  Ty is an only child who lives with her single mother.

Your membership in TWUBA helps support the scholarship program and in addition, you may contribute directly to TWUBA scholarships.

Join: http://www.twu.edu/downloads/alumni/Fillable_TWUBA_Membership_form.pdf

Contribute: http://www.twu.edu/downloads/alumni/TWUBA_Scholarship_Contribution_Form_(11-2011).pdf

A Message from the President

Greetings on behalf of the Executive Board of the Texas Woman’s University Black Alumni.  Another year of our existence and continued progress is about to be completed.  To all of you wonderful fellow alumni who are supporting this concept for our Alma Mater I am sending a heartfelt Thank you!  Stay connected and you will continue to see that by standing together we can scale new heights.  We are “on the map” and serve as an example for other groups.

You may have heard by now that our Chancellor and President, Dr. Ann Stuart, will be be leaving TWU in 2014.  Dr. Stuart has been a strong champion of  TWU, through overseeing an enrollment increase to over 15,000 students, and she has seen completed impressive new construction for the TWU campuses in Denton, Houston and Dallas.  The TWU presence in the State Capitol has also been made stronger through the efforts of Dr. Stuart.  She has truly been a fine leader for TWU who has also kept an ear finely tuned to hearing alumni.  TWUBA offers sincere thanks to her as we were founded during her administration.

Perhpas that you have read that all of the Texas Woman’s University alumni affairs is undergoing re-structuring under the Director, Anne Scott.  TWUBA is already happily operating within this new concept.  Under this concept there will be a number of ways to stay connected to the university and alumni may participate in as many groups as they desire.

TWUBA is celebrating a growing membership.  You are correct:  THIS IS RENEWAL TIME FOR MEMBERSHIP.  When we get your renewal you will receive a beautiful membership card for your wallet.  Basic dues cover operational costs such as gatherings, mailings, cards, etc.  We seek your continued support of helping us with contributions toward the TWUBA scholarship. Your donation above the basic level supports the scholarship endowment, one of the primary goals of TWUBA. This scholarship fund is a separate and on-going fund.  In this age of increasing expenses for higher education we are needed now, more than ever. 

You may also help TWUBA to continue to build a strong presence by giving a little quality time and volunteering to promote TWU through the organization.

My sincere wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season go to each one of you.   – Dianne

Student Leader Profile – Brittney Verdell

       TWU Campus Activities Board President, Brittney Verdell

Brittney Verdell is a Senior student with lots of energy and lots of dedication.  As President of the Campus Activities Board (CAB), Brittney holds one of the most responsible leadership positions at TWU.  CAB, associated with the Student Government Association, oversees a very large budget funded from student fees which are spent on bringing educational and entertaining programs to campus for the benefit of all students.  And — Brittney is a single mom, mother of a 1 1/2 year-old little girl, living on campus in the Lowry-Woods apartment complex. 

This determined young woman is originally from Dallas where she “proudly graduated form the Great James Madison High School in South Dallas.”  She is the oldest of five children and because of that she says, “Being a leader was bred into me!”  At TWU and within CAB, Brittney has had the chance to develop her leadership skills by meeting challenges.  What she values most about being CAB president is the bond that has been created between her board members and the CAB volunteers.  She feels that they look up to her and respect her and don’t stereotype her as the typical young African American single mother.  “I have overcome that!” says Brittney.

Brittney decided to come to TWU after participating in a program called Education is Freedom (EIF) which encouraged her 2009 class members to apply to as many schools as they were interested in.  She was accepted to all 11 school where she applied but chose TWU because it was close to home and she received a good scholarship to attend.

The choice of her major, Social Work, has particular significance for her.  “Growing up, I have seen all forms of government assistance, poverty, and crime.  Personally, I would love to change policies that affect African American women.  Through my career I want to help African American women to establish a value of self worth and ambition.  Hopefully, in my future, I will become a Mayor so that I can build a diverse and educated community for minorities.” 

TWUBA wishes Brittney all the best and knows wherever she is working and leading, she will make a difference!

P. S.  – Brittney is particularly excited about the speaker that CAB is bringing to campus in the spring of 2013.  The name can’t be announced yet, but she will keep TWUBA informed!

Member Profile – Eva Poole

TWUBA founding member, Eva Poole

Congratulations to TWU Black Alumni (TWUBA) founding member, Eva Poole, B.A, Library Science ’72 and MLS, ’76,  on her new career opportunity!  After some 20 years as Director of Libraries for the City of Denton, Eva has moved to Wahington, D. C. as chief of staff of the Distirict of Columbia Public Library System.  In her new position, Eva oversees on of the nation’s premier library systems, which includes 24 libraries in the metro-Washington, D. C. area.  And as if that is not enough excitement Eva also took office as president of the Public Library Association (PLA) – a division of the American Library Association.  Her term as president will last from June 2012- June 2013.

With two new opportunities on the horizon, we asked Eva what she saw as her biggest challenge for each.  “My biggest challenge as PLA president is meeting the deadlines for writing my six columns in Public Libraries, the official journal of PLA!  For my position with D. C. Public Libraries, it is finding the time to visit each of our 24 neighborhood libraries.”  We also asked what she was looking forward to in each new position.  “As president, I am looking forward to helping PLA advance its mission to strengthen public libraries and the communities those libraries serve.  In my new position, I am looking forward to helping administration in its efforts to transform the Distirict of Columnbia Public Library into a world-class library system serving a world-class city.”

In total, Eva has more than 30 years in library service, serving on the boards of the American Library Association, the Library Leadership and Management Association and the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations.  TWU wishes Eva all the best in her new endeavors!

  

Member profile – Alisa Simmons

Alisa Simmons
Marketing and Communications Manager for Tarrant County 9-1-1

Alisa Simmons, 1985, Radio and TV, has just completed a very successful educational campaign for the Tarrant County 9-1-1 District.  Alisa, the Marketing and Communications Manager, is responsible for promoting 9-1-1 use and telling the life-saving stories associated with its use.  The Dallas/Fort Worth market is the 5th largest media market in the country, with over 2.4 million households and over 6.8 million people.  The April coverage included coverage by 17 local network affiliates plus newspaper and radio stations.  You can view the TV coverage given to a recent press conference coordinated by Alisa, recognizing a very courageous woman for her life-saving actions using 9-1-1.  See Video 

Alisa was recently elected by her peers in the 9-1-1 industry to serve on the Board of Directors for the Washington, D. C.- based Next Generation 9-1-1 Institute, which is co-chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Richard Burr (R- NC).   She has also been appointed to the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) – Working Group 8.

Touching Bases with Texas Woman’s University Black Alumni

As president of TWUBA I am joyously inviting you to check out what has been happening with the Texas Woman’s Black Alumni organization in this newsletter! 

What a year!

I greet you with this exclamatory statement because it seems so appropriate in describing this ever un-folding process.  Since our first official meeting numerous high points have occurred and they need to be shared:

  • Election of officers and appointment of committee chairs – April 2011
  • Planning and executing the 50 year celebration of integration at TWU (honoring the first graduates of African American descent) and winning the CASE Gold Award for the effort.
  • Networking event in Denton and three metropolitan areas, including Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston
  • Officially gaining 501 status
  • Endowing a scholarship with the minimum required amount of $10,000
  • Renewed focus on building the Mentoriong/Partnering program

The Executive Committee has indeed been busy and mindful of the commitment to act for the good of TWUBA.

Oh yes, we all understand that this has taken a lot of work and cooperation.  However, for just one second I am requesting that you take the briefest of a backwards glance to review how much we have accomplished in shaping this organization.  It is then that we can pause, just briefly, to realize how far we have come.  In that brief act of looking in our “rear view mirror” one can then catapult forward with renewed energy and recognize that we must continue to move forward in continued purposeful ways in fulfilling our mission. 

This newsletter contains information encompassing highlight of various Black alumni, updates of the work committees and other items of interest.

Know that incredible strength lies in a group of people working together toward a common purpose (We know how to do that, don’t we?).  Please remember that while we are still in the early stages, we must continue to build scholarship, support alumni and strive to fulfill the TWUBA mission.  Let us not stop now.  There is much to be done!

Special thanks to each of you who continue to recognize how to give back and share your resources in helping to support this group of TWU students who need our help more than at anytime in our history. 

Finally, special mention must go to Anne Scott, Director of Alumni Relations and to Glinda Shaffer of the executive committe for putting together this newletter.

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